Sandwich Sundays are opportunities for community-building through discussing topics relevant to “what does it mean to be a Quaker?” Bring a lunch, and following meeting, we will share ideas, experiences, and reflections. The first Sandwich Sunday will be January 22, when we will be talking about American Friends Service Committee and how it functions. The second will be February 12, when we will watch and discuss one or more “Quaker Speak” videos. These are interviews with a variety of Friends who are each addressing questions of Quaker faith and practice from their own perspectives.
Oxford Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends affirms our unity with Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice, which states that:
The Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends holds as the basis of its faith the belief that divine truth and the gift of God’s presence are available to all people in all ages. The indwelling presence of God implies the equal worth of all members of the human family and the capacity in all to discern spiritual truth and to hold direct communion with the Divine Spirit… What binds us together as a spiritual community is not uniformity of belief, but rather our sense of a common journey on a shared path, seeking the guidance of the Light. Our diversity strengthens us as we walk this path of love, compassion, and justice.
We recognize that diversity exists among Friends on the issue of legal limits or bans on abortion. In order to preserve the freedom of individual conscience and the responsibility to discern our choices with the guidance of the Inner Light, we stand with those who hold that bodily autonomy and reproductive choice is a human right. Although we hold with respect and compassion those who oppose abortion, we believe that it is unjust to impose their beliefs upon others, and we uphold the separation of church and state. We are especially aware of the unequal impact of abortion limits and bans upon those who are racially marginalized and economically disadvantaged, and believe that this inequality is incongruent with our vision of a society free of discrimination.
Now that the right to provide and receive reproductive health care is under widespread attack, it is more important than ever our nation take steps to protect equal access to health care and well-being for all pregnant people and families and to ensure that health care providers have the freedom to treat patients as medically appropriate.
These beliefs lead us to consider actions including the following:
- Advocate with Friends Committee on National Legislation to: ensure access to quality, affordable childcare; close the Medicaid coverage gap; provide access to prenatal and postpartum health care; ensure paid family and medical leave; protect people who are pregnant in the workplace; and guarantee more assistance to families.
- Ally with faith group(s) that support reproductive health care as a human right
- Encourage individuals to act as led in supporting organizations and individuals that support reproductive choice.
Oxford Friends attended a vigil for racial justice June 8 in uptown Oxford. One of the speakers was a former attender. Some pastoral Friends saw our sign and stopped to chat!
Oxford Friends Meeting mourns the passage of our beloved Friend, Barbara Diehl, who was a joint member with Clear Creek Meeting. A birthright Quaker, Barbara was a founding member of our meeting. Every year, she organized the Meeting to contribute school kits and hygiene kits for people in need, both in the United States and abroad, via Church Women United. She also annually helped the meeting participate in the Community Empty Bowls Luncheon. Every month, she would remind us of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries in the Meeting. Pictured is Sandra Ward-Angell, showing that Barbara posthumously received an Oxford Citizen of the Years award for her many and wide-ranging community contributions, as a forcefully compassionate witness to the world of human needs around us.
Our Advent Event centered on the theme “Love, Peace, and Joy, What Canst Thou Say?” We shared relevant inspirational poetry, quotations, lives, and art works. Pictured is the Ball family’s jointly-constructed “Peace” banner. Our service project was to collect coats and warm garments to be given away to needy students at the high school where an Oxford Friends member teaches. We were reminded of the economic inequality that surrounds us and were grateful for the opportunity to share with others.
This week Oxford Friends assembled school supply bags and hygiene kits for the Church World Service Kits Project. CWS distributes the school bags and hygiene kits, along with baby kits, blankets, and emergency clean-up buckets, around the world to impoverished areas, refugee camps, and places hit by flood, tornado, or other disasters.
For more information on where Oxford Friends’ CWS kits are going, please follow this link: CWS Impact Report 2017.
We are young, but we have opened our eyes and see what’s going on in the world. We want to have our ideas heard.
In her letter to President Trump for the 4th Annual Student Voices issue of Friends Journal, Oxford Friends youth member Gillian Murray wrote America needs to be a safe place for anybody and everybody. Gillian was inspired by Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In her own words, “Mr. Trump’s presidency has stirred up a lot of thoughts for many people…I wanted to get some of those thoughts on paper. To Kill a Mockingbird represents injustice perfectly and I think describes our situation today very well.”
Oxford Friends joined faith and secular groups from Miami University and Oxford for Interfaith Fest on Sunday, April 23rd at the Uptown Park. The afternoon was filled with fun, food, live music, games, and lots of good conversation.
Thanks to The Interfaith Center for hosting the event, which we hope will be repeated in years to come.
At the December 6, 2016 Oxford City Council Meeting, Mayor Kate Rousmaniere presented a Proclamation renewing the City of Oxford’s commitment to civil rights, civility and mutual respect. This proclamation was the result of discussion by several Oxford community groups including Oxford Friends, the Oxford Unit of NAACP, Oxford Chapter of PFLAG, the Oxford Community Relations Commission, and the Interfaith Center.